WHAT is the real object of modern education, Mme. Blavatsky asked: “to cultivate and develop the mind in the right direction.
“To teach the disinherited and hapless to carry with fortitude the burdens of life?
“To strengthen their will — to inculcate in them the love of one’s neighbour and the feeling of mutual interdependence and brotherhood — and thus to train and form the character for practical life? Not a bit of it.”
“And yet, these are undeniably the objects of all true education,” she insisted. “No one denies it — all your educationalists admit it, and talk very big indeed on the subject. But what is the practical result of their action? Every young man and boy, nay, every one of the younger generation of schoolmasters will answer:
“‘The object of modern education is to pass examinations’ … and thus train them for a life of ferocious selfishness and struggle for honours and emoluments instead of kindly feeling.
“And what are these examinations — the terror of modern youth? They are simply a method of classification by which the results of your school teaching are tabulated. In other words, they form the practical application of the modern science method to the genus homo, qua intellection.
“Now ‘science’ teaches that intellect is a result of the mechanical interaction of the brain-stuff — therefore it is only logical that modern education should be almost entirely mechanical — a sort of automatic machine for the fabrication of intellect by the ton.
“Very little experience of examinations is enough to show that the education they produce is simply a training of the physical memory, and, sooner or later,” Blavatsky warned, “all your schools will sink to this level. As to any real, sound cultivation of the thinking and reasoning power, it is simply impossible while everything has to be judged by the results as tested by competitive examinations.”
When Education Goes Wrong
Full Title: “When Education Goes Wrong: Taking Creativity and Play Out of Learning.” Dr. Nancy Carlsson-Paige, professor emerita of Lesley University, writes frequently about the impact of media and other social influences on children’s lives and development.
Education Gone Right
She is also co-founder of Defending the Early Years, a nonprofit project whose purpose is to encourage educators to speak out about current policies that are affecting the education of young children.
In this talk, Nancy speaks about how educational institutions, in their attempts to meet the bureaucratic limitations of “Race to the Top” and “No Child Left Behind” policies, have eliminated creative play from early childhood education — resulting in the loss of problem-solving and critical-thinking skills in later years.
“Again, school training is of the very greatest importance in forming character, especially in its moral bearing. Now, from first to last, your modern system is based on the so-called scientific revelations:
‘The struggle for existence’ and the ‘survival of the fittest.’ All through his early life, everyone has these driven into them by practical example and experience, as well as by direct teaching, till it is impossible to eradicate from his mind the idea that “self,” the lower, personal self, is the end-all, and be-all, of life.
“Here you get the great source of all the after-misery, crime, and heartless selfishness … which as said over and over again, is the curse of humanity, and the prolific parent of all the evils and crimes in this life; and it is your schools which are the hot-beds of such selfishness.
“The energies generated by the brain molecules of its adherents are all concentrated on one point, and are, therefore, to some extent, an organized army of educated and speculative intellects of the minority of men, trained against the … masses doomed to be vampirised, lived and sat upon by their intellectually stronger brethren.
“Result: The direct outcome of this branch of education is an overflooding of the market with money-making machines, with heartless selfish men — animals — who have been most carefully trained to prey on their fellows and take advantage of the ignorance of their weaker brethren!”
The Story of an Egg | PBS Online Film Festival 2013
“Eggs, as well as the chickens they come from, are both healthful sources of protein but ONLY if raised the way nature intended… Unfortunately, as illustrated in the video below, today’s agricultural model of factory farming has complicated what used to be a simple affair.” (Mercola.com)
“All this is owing to the perniciousness of a system which turns out goods to order, irrespective of the natural proclivities and talents of the youth. The poor little candidate for this progressive paradise of learning, comes almost straight from the nursery to the treadmill…
“Here he is immediately seized upon by the workmen of the materio-intellectual factory … so that if he have any natural genius it is rapidly squeezed out of him… He will attain only sufficient knowledge of his own particular nation to fit him with a steel armour of prejudice against all other peoples [….]
“A proper and sane system of education should produce the most vigorous and liberal mind, strictly trained in logical and accurate thought, and not in blind faith.”
“Children should above all be taught self-reliance, love for all men, altruism, mutual charity, and more than anything else, to think and reason for themselves. We would reduce the purely mechanical work of the memory to an absolute minimum, and devote the time to the development and training of the inner senses, faculties and latent capacities.
“We would endeavour to deal with each child as a unit, and to educate it so as to produce the most harmonious and equal unfoldment of its powers, in order that its special aptitudes should find their full natural development.
“We should aim at creating free men and women, free intellectually, free morally, unprejudiced in all respects, and above all things, unselfish. And we believe that much if not all of this could be obtained by proper and truly theosophical education.
– H. P. Blavatsky
Edited excerpts from:
The Key to Theosophy, Section 13